Latics fans were delighted to see the progress of young defender Rob Kiernan in the second-half of the 2013-14 Sky Bet Championship season as the former Watford man racked up his first 14 appearances for the club since joining from Watford in 2011.
The 23-year-old bagged his first goal for the club in a 2-2 home draw with eventual champions Leicester City and he hopes to remain a firm part of Uwe Rosler’s plans from the off this time around.
“I’ve been looking forward to coming back for pre-season,” he said. “I like to get away and have a little rest but obviously after a while you have to get back into the routine of things.
“I’ve done a lot of work every day so hopefully I’ll be alright as we head to Germany.
“It’s a big year for me and I want to hit the ground running, get in the gaffer’s thoughts and have a good season with lots of games.”
Kiernan is currently out in Germany with the rest of the first-team squad as the players prepare for their opening domestic pre-season fixture with Walsall before they face tests against Besiktas and then Fortuna Dusseldorf and SC Paderborn in Germany.
And the Rickmansworth-born defender says he expects plenty of tough tests from the fixtures, though the main aim will be for players to get match time under their belts.
“We want good tests from our pre-season games and I’m sure the teams we play will give us good games,” Kiernan added.
“However pre-season games are never a clear indicator of how we will play in the first game of the season, a lot is different the main thing is that players get minutes under their belt.
“It’s a good test, but the start of the season is when you really want to be on form.”
And with four new additions to the Latics squad, Kiernan joked of a morale boosting pre-season period with Oriol Riera, James Tavernier, Andrew Taylor and Aaron Taylor-Sinclair all set for pre-season initiations.
“Two lads have come in and seem to have settled in quite well,” he continued. “They’ll get to know everyone and have to sing in front of the lads before dinner but they’ll be fine.”